Being born into a family that has a strong work ethic creates some big shoes to fill. I am the 3rd of 4 sons, born in 1967. The company was already 8 years young when I was born and my Grandparents were running the business out of their house. We lived in Northglenn at the time and we would visit several times a week. Time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was always an adventure. As toddlers, we would ride on the equipment with Dad or Grandpa while they explained what they were doing.
The one story I remember the most was riding in the motor-grader with Grandpa and he is asking me if I feel when we are level or not level. He always said, “You can feel it in your butt.” When we were level he’d ask, “Do you feel that the pressure is even?” When we were off level, he’d ask, “Do you feel that in your right cheek or your left cheek?” depending on which direction we were sloping. At the time I listened but never realized how valuable those teachings would be.
By the time I was 12, I was able to operate a front-end loader and a tractor with a box grader as skillfully as most adults. From the age of 15, I, along with my oldest brother, was operating 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, every summer and assisting managing projects or at times managing the projects myself. We were also our own mechanics. When the equipment broke, we worked in the evenings or weekends to get it back up and running as quickly as possible. Needless to say, the equipment and the business became my life.
I did, however, go on to college to CSU in the Construction Management program. I worked in the summer and most weekends to pay for school and allow for some spending money. My older brothers did not go to college and as soon as they graduated became full-time employees. Mike was essentially the Operations Manager and Tony was the Chief Estimator, which he started doing at 14. Tony took a liking to the office while Mike and I liked being out in the elements. I learned many great things at CSU and at the same time I was watching my family build the business every day. I was working and going to school but when I was at school there always seemed to be high stress and more work than could be done on a given day. One year at the end of the school year, my mother met me at my dorm on the day of my last final to help me clean it and move out so I could be ready to go to work the following day. There was never much time to relax. I decided after 3 years that it was more important and would provide more value if I were to quit school and join my family in the day to day building of the company.
In 2000, my parents decided that it was time to reward us for all of our hard work by making us the owners of the company. At that time we each owned 25% equal shares. Since then, Tony sold his stock to us, and today, Mike, David, and I own an equal 33-1/3% equal share. Mike was the President/CEO from 2000 until 2013. After 13 years, he was ready to start working on other business ventures and needed a new President. That’s when I was asked to take on the role.
It has not been an easy task although, it has been an incredible journey to learn every aspect of our business from boots on the ground, blisters and all, to estimating and project management to establishing a clear understanding of the finance side of the business…not to mention the importance of creating and maintaining a strong culture that is based upon the Core Values established by 2 prior generations. I tell my kids this all the time…even though I didn’t graduate with a degree, I have never been out of school, not for a single day.